How to Prepare for Celpe-Bras — No-Nonsense Tips
Okay. You finally decided to get your certificate of proficiency in Portuguese.
You have already registered, paid your entry fee, and now you don’t know how to prepare for Celpe-Bras.
Worse still, you’re freaking out over the speaking part of the exam… Because, after all, it’s been a long time since you last spoke Portuguese for an entire hour.
Well, even though the scenario looks scary, you can still manage to attain a good result in your Celpe-Bras.
I’ve interviewed students who took part in the examination. And here’s what they suggest you do if you want to get good results.
Familiarize Yourself with the Structure
Like with other language proficiency examinations, our Celpe-Bras also follows a rigid structure.
There’s a speaking component to the exam, and a writing component as well.
But unlike other tests, Celpe-Bras doesn’t have a grammar part.
That’s because they assess your grammar level by checking your composition.
If you’re not at all familiar with the structure, check out this article I wrote about it.
Do Mock Tests
You’ll be under pressure. There’s no way around it. If you want to get more comfortable and stand a chance to get your Intermediário Superior certificate, then you want to do mock exams.
But time yourself.
You have twenty minutes total for your speaking part.
And you have three hours to write for texts.
Do you think that’s a lot?
When you’re holding your pen and thinking about what you want to write, the arms of the clock race.
So, try to do things before time runs out.
Write Every Single Day
As I have said, there’s no grammar part in the Celpe-Bras exam. You’ll write four compositions in response to the stuff you read or listen to.
Writing in a foreign language isn’t easy. It demands more skills than most people have. You want to strengthen those muscles before the big day.
What do you write about? That’s a good question.
You should write about events that are happening now. You can write your impressions of it… A letter to the editor… Or even rewrite the whole thing…
I suggest you write about the news for three reasons:
- Most of the recordings of the listening part are taken from the daily news broadcast.
- You’ll never run out of sources for your compositions.
- And in the speaking component, most of the materials used to spark up conversations are taken from the daily news as well.
Hire a Teacher to Help You
But don’t do it before you start practicing.
If you want to make the most of your time, you should do the previous exams as if it were the real thing — with timing and all. Only then should you hire a teacher to help you correct what you got wrong and give you some pointers as to what you can do from now on.
How Will I Need to Practice for Celpe-Bras?
It depends on where you are.
If you’re a beginner right now and want to obtain the advanced certificate… That might be possible… but it’s unrealistic.
Now, if you are at the intermediate level and want to get the advanced certificate, that might be possible. And it’s realistic.
Most of my students who got good grades in this examination studied an average of six hours a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
An Important Note of Caution
For the listening comprehension component of the Celpe, bear in mind that the recordings are really crappy.
One of the students I was helping this year complained about that. We went over the recordings together.
As a native speaker, I can say that the recordings didn’t have good quality. And, because the language isn’t adapted, non-native speakers of Portuguese will find them terribly hard to understand.
And if you want to be more scientific in your approach to listening comprehension, you might want to see our discussion on listening skills in Portuguese.
So, do you have any other preparation tips? Have you ever taken the Celpe-Bras before? Tell us in the comments below 🙂